Thou Shalt Not Covet

The Book of Mormon record reemphasizes the importance of the Ten Commandments given by God to the Israelite people. The Nephite prophets who taught their people and recorded scripture drew on a record called the Brass Plates (which were brought from Jerusalem) that contained most of writings of the prophets found in the Old Testament up to 600 B.C., including the book of Exodus containing the Ten Commandments.

The tenth of the Ten Commandments warns against the sin of always wanting more than one has (and envying those who seem to have more).

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s. (Mosiah 13:24 – Compare Exodus 20:17)

Questions:

-Is runaway materialism more or less inevitable when this commandment is not kept?

-What does the Ten Commandments being repeated in the Book of Mormon say about God’s view of their importance (and their timeless application for His children as a baseline for righteous living)?

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor

The ninth of the Ten Commandments focuses on being truthful with, and about, others.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Mosiah 13:23 – Compare Exodus 20:16)

Questions:

-How does one’s dishonesty negatively affect those around him or her?

-What would lead someone to bear a false witness against another?

-How often do people say negative things about others that aren’t true (or that distort the truth)?

Remember the Sabbath Day, to Keep it Holy

The fourth of the Ten Commandments relates to the Lord’s will that His people treat one day out of seven as holy.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; But the seventh day, the sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Mosiah 13:16-19 – Compare with Exodus 20:8-11)

Questions:

-How likely is it that a person will draw near to God, if he or she doesn’t stop to worship Him on a regular basis.

-Are there actually two commandments found in these verses? One to labor for six days and another to rest and keep the seventh day holy?

What happens to a nation that does not keep the Sabbath Day holy?

The Lord Will Not Hold Him Guiltless That Taketh His Name in Vain

The third of the Ten Commandments focuses on the consequences of the irreverent use of God’s name.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Mosiah 13:15 – Compare with Exodus 20:7)

Questions:

-What does it mean to take the name of the Lord in vain?

-Are you surprised that the casual or mocking use of the name of God is a sin listed among such things as murder and stealing?

-If, as the scriptures attest, the Holy Ghost testifies of God, what happens when a person makes a mockery of God’s name? Will the testimony of the Spirit withdraw from that person?

-What happens to a person spiritually if God’s Spirit withdraws from them?

I the Lord Am a Jealous God

The Book of Mormon record reemphasizes the importance of the Ten Commandments given by God to the Israelite people. The Nephite prophets who taught their people and recorded scripture drew on a record called the Brass Plates (which were brought from Jerusalem) that contained most of writings of the prophets found in the Old Testament up to 600 B.C., including the book of Exodus containing the Ten Commandments.

Posts for the next several weeks will focus on a section of Mosiah chapter 13 that presents the Ten Commandments in wording very similar to the King James Translation (but with some interesting variations). Words and punctuation in italic show instances where the wording and punctuation is different from the King James version.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of things which are in heaven above, or which are in the earth beneath, or which are in the water under the earth. And again: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” (Mosiah 13:12-14 – Compare with Exodus 20:4-6)

Questions:

-Why does God care if the people who have covenanted to follow Him choose to follow other gods?

-What does the word — that the translators of the King James version of the Bible decided to translate as “jealous” – say about God’s concern and emotions towards those who have proclaimed themselves as His? Would a God without body, parts, or passions be capable of this kind of feeling?

-When the Lord speaks of those who hate Him in these verses, is He referring to those who have received His covenants and the Holy Spirit and then still rejected Him as their God. Or, is he referring to those who hate him merely as an idea or as someone else’s God?

If the Children of Men Keep the Commandments of God He Doth Nourish Them and Strengthen Them

In giving an account of his family’s journey through portions of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, Nephi recognizes the great blessings they had received from God as vulnerable travelers far from their home and comfort zones. Although it was very difficult going, they were never attacked, no one died of starvation, and women in the group bore children and successfully nurtured them despite the harsh conditions. Nephi knew his father had received a commandment to leave Jerusalem and to seek a promised land for his family. As he is writing, Nephi pauses in his narrative to share a general truth about the blessings that come from obedience to God’s commands:

“…If it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them.” (1 Nephi 17:3)

Questions:

-How does the Lord nourish and strengthen those who keep His commandments? Is it often by small and simple means that can be easily overlooked?

-If you care about keeping the commandments, is it more likely that you will care about getting help from God to accomplish what He has asked you to do? Is commandment keeping a key to building a relationship with God?

Where can the ten commandments be found? Are there more than the ten commandments found in the book of Exodus? What about receiving personal commandments such as the one Lehi received to leave Jerusalem. Does God still give such commandments, specific to individuals, in our time?

-Which commandments are the most important? Are the two great commandments, affirmed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament, a summary of the ten commandments? Or, do they transcend the ten commandments to some degree?

-Is obedience to God’s commandments a key to bringing His power into your life? How meaningful and empowering would it be to receive nourishment and strength from God himself?